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Full text of "NightRider"

ing, and he had to ride a borrowed horse seven miles north
of Morris Crossing through mud that sucked about the fet-
locks at every step. The meeting was to be in the evening,
at a schoolhouse near the creek. The rain left oS in the
afternoon, but the sky did not clear. While he rode down
the muddy road, under the sky that seemed to sag sodden
above him, he ate the sandwiches he had put in his pocket.
The dry crumbs stuck in his throat. He saw no one on the
road.

Just as the last grey twilight went out, he discovered the
schoolhouse. Only some eighteen or twenty men were there,
huddling about the stove, in which a fire had just been made.
The single room was lighted by two oil lamps; the pale yellow
flames under smoky glass seemed themselves to be stiffened
and faded by the chill. The men silently made a place for
Mr. Munn at the stove, and he introduced himself. Each
of the men, repealing his name as though it were a lesson to
be learned fay rote, took his hand and shook it. In silence,
then, they stood about the stove while the fire caught and the
steam began to ascend from their drying clothes. When the
room got warmer, the men scattered among the desks,
looking somewhat embarrassed to be seen in those cramped
seats that reminded them of the period of childhood and
dependence.

Shortly after Mr. Munn had taken his position by the
table, where the two lamps sat, and had begun to'talk to the
IIKSQ, the raia started again. It beat steadily on the roof, its
iwsteat sound mingling with the sound of his voice, and he
&ftd the feeling that it was beating upon his very mind,
{teeming out the thoughts he would speak as rain flattens out
gnio, diriliag him, conquering him, and those other men, into
a kind of immemorial passivity and acceptance. The faces
tf die mm seemed to say that to him, to speak to him louder
&tft Ms worib to them. But the four thin walls and the roof
kW wit the rain. It was almost a mystery, a mystery whose
tew Mm as he stood there, that he and those
be together in that little cuTnVlp- * *